Intelligent residential energy storage company sonnen, announced the official formation of the sonnen Foundation for Energy Security, which will work with local energy partner Pura Energía to implement microgrids islandwide.
The initiative calls for installing solar-powered systems in schools, community centers and relief shelters. This mission of bringing relief to individuals and entire communities in need, including those affected by energy instability, are part of sonnen’s core principles for “achieving clean, reliable and affordable energy for all,” the company said.
The company’s global leaders, led by CEO Christoph Ostermann and SVP Blake Richetta, met with local government officials, including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, to tour the “Energy Oasis” microgrids and discuss a future of energy resiliency for the island.
“This trip deeply impacted our entire leadership team and solidified our resolve to help the people of Puerto Rico,” said Ostermann. “Speaking with government officials, residents and our partners on the ground gave us a ‘hands on’ understanding of the magnitude of suffering that has occurred since Hurricane María.”
“We come away from this trip with as clear a vision as ever before for Puerto Rico and the rest of the world,” he said.
Given the devastation across the island and the uncertainty about power restoration timelines, these community microgrids are critical in providing much needed, short-term relief for the residents of Puerto Rico and establishing a resilient infrastructure to withstand future climate disasters.
Thus far, sonnen and Pura Energía have donated six Energy Oases, at key community sites across the island, with nine more microgrids planned for the coming weeks. Active microgrids include:
- Lavanderia microgrids – sonnen and Pura Energía have installed three solar microgrids in La Perla (8kW power/16kWh capacity), Loíza (4kw/8kWh) and Morovis (8kW/16kWh) used to power community washing machines, refrigerators and some basic electrical outlets. Installed in communities whose water is contaminated by the deadly Leptospirosis bacteria, each microgrid is supporting hundreds of homes in its respective neighborhood.
- Loma La Nina Mariana microgrid – Located in Humacao, one of the most devastated areas of Puerto Rico, “Proyecto Apoyo Mutuo Mariana” is a village community center that was converted into a food shelter to feed its residents. The sonnen eco16 (8kW/16kWh) works with a solar array to provide refrigeration and meal preparation for up to 500 individuals per day, in addition to clean water storage and basic electricity used to power Wi-Fi communications.
- Help Me! Aguadilla microgrid – A sonnen eco8 (4kW/8kWh) storage system combined with solar panels provides lights, refrigeration, microwaves and fans for a school that provides psychological services for children with behavioral and developmental disabilities in Aguadilla. The ability to power basic necessities for the school enables it to remain open.
- Maricao microgrid – Two sonnen eco8 (4kW/8kWh) systems plus solar are powering refrigerators, lights, cellular router and other power services for a shelter housing 45 residents displaced by the hurricane in an isolated mountain town that will likely be without power for many months.
“Puerto Rico is primed for solar energy as we have the sun power and our electricity is one of the most expensive things on the island,” said Christine Enid Nieves, spokesperson for Loma La Nina Mariano.
“Solar energy would have a huge impact on every Puerto Rican’s financial situation, radically shifting the quality of life in the Caribbean,” she said. “Power lines have been down since Hurricane María and grid services are not expected to be available for six to seven months or longer, making solar microgrids an essential element for relief and recovery.”
In addition to providing reliable energy for the community, the sonnen and Pura Energía microgrids offer a clean, maintenance-free and quiet alternative to the generators that are polluting the air in Puerto Rico every day, creating a public health concern and damaging the environment.
“sonnen’s vision for Puerto Rico, like the established concept of sonnenCommunity in Europe and the United States, is to incorporate both solar and battery storage into new home development, resulting in an integrated approach that truly performs as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP),” said Richetta, who heads the company’s U.S. subsidiary.
“Investing in Puerto Rico now will pave the way not only for recovery, but for long-term growth and prosperity. As a country, if we fail to invest in Puerto Rico during this time of need, the result could be disastrous,” he said.
sonnen also met with the Department of Economic Development to discuss business investments in Puerto Rico, expanding the company’s distribution channel to the island and creating jobs to aid in their economic recovery, executives confirmed.